Score another big biotech victory for Carl Icahn. The aggressive investor took out the familiar brass knuckles and joined forces with Eastbourne Capital Management in his bruising fight for control of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, ousting the chairman and lead independent director on his way to winning two seats on the board for his dissident candidates.
Icahn had targeted Amylin Chairman Joseph C. Cook Jr. with withering criticism, claiming last April that Cook has been "the chairman and/or C.E.O. during the time that an enormous amount of stockholder value has been destroyed." Amylin only divulged the defeat of its chairman and lead independent director yesterday evening. The change-up on the board gives Icahn, who holds a 21 percent stake in the drug developer, a much bigger say in how the company will be run.
"I am smiling at the results," Amylin co-founder Howard Greene Jr. noted in an e-mail quoted by Bloomberg. "The new board will benefit from an increased diversity of experiences and personalities."
Icahn has made a regular practice of fighting for control of drug developers and pushing payoffs for investors. That approach worked in his takeover at ImClone, but Biogen Idec has so far managed to struggle itself free from his bear hug. Proxy votes in the latest dust-up between Icahn and Biogen Idec's execs are being counted this morning, with Icahn's four rebel directors fighting for investors' support.